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Red Bull weigh in on debate over 'spaceship' Mercedes mirrors

Mercedes have raised questions in the F1 paddock with their new mirror arrangement and the part it plays in their 'zero-pod' design.

Hamilton Bahrein Test
To news overview © Mercedes

Red Bull have made clear that they do not wish to be drawn into a "mirror war" with Mercedes after Ferrari questioned their new "spaceship" design.

Mercedes have been running a new-look version of their W13 in Bahrain this week, featuring narrow 'zero-pod' sidepods and a unique take on the anti-intrusion cones (the lateral safety structures), on which they have housed their mirrors.

For years, teams have debated the design of mirrors on Formula 1 cars, with it having been agreed that they should have no aerodynamic purpose, with their only function being for the driver to be able to see what is behind him.

The new 2022 F1 regulations are very specific on what teams can and can't do with their mirrors.

However, Mercedes' mirrors appear very different to the rest of the 2022 grid, resulting in Ferrari asking questions surrounding the grey area they appear to have exploited.

What Ferrari said about Mercedes' mirrors

Speaking to members of the media on Thursday, including RacingNews365.com, Binotto said: "I think, on the mirrors, I'm [somewhat] surprised... I would say that's something we are not expecting.

"I think that's something that, for the future, needs to be addressed. Already, in the past, we always argued that the mirrors should not have any aero purpose. It should be there just to look behind.

"The way that they treated or designed their car, certainly there is a significant aero purpose in the mirrors itself."

Why Mercedes mirrors stand out

Part of the reason why Mercedes' mirrors look so different to the rest of the grid is due to their radical new sidepod design.

The 'zero-pod' shape has slimmed the car greatly in that area but the lateral safety structures (there to protect the driver from side impacts) - on which Mercedes have placed aerodynamic fins and mounted the mirrors - have remained.

Both Ferrari and Red Bull have agreed that the Mercedes is not illegal, but the question for the FIA will be whether or not they consider the design to fall within the spirit of regulations, designed to reduce overbody aero features in a move that is hoped will improve racing.

Ross Brawn has already made clear that Formula 1 are ready to "knock back" any design ideas that they feel take away from the spirit of those regulations.

			© Aaron Deckers
	© Aaron Deckers

Red Bull keen to avoid mirror war

When asked about the Mercedes mirrors in Bahrain on Friday, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said: "Yeah, we certainly don't want to get into a mirror war...

"So much time in these technical meetings over the last 10 years or so has been talking about the function of the mirrors, and whether they become wings or not is probably not in the intention.

"I'm sure in the right forum, in the meeting they have next week, that will probably be addressed and discussed there."

When asked if the Mercedes W13 goes against the spirit of the regulations, Horner added: "There's not really anything that defines the spirit of the regulations. It either complies or it doesn't, and that's not really for us to judge.

"The FIA have the access to all of the drawings; a design like that would have surely been submitted in advance."

Also interesting:

Video: Are Mercedes playing it safe with the W13 reveal?

Mercedes showed off two different versions of the W13 during their 2022 car launch, with some key differences between the digital and physical models.

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